“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” —Mark Twain.
My final night shift in the homeless shelter for 2017 (perfect volunteer work for the insomniacs among us) and my mind is buzzing with an avalanche of thoughts and ideas I need to give form to.
Last night my daughter’s boyfriend created my web domain; theinvisibilitymyth.com, so now the real work begins to get this book writing show on the road. I am starting to gather interviews with some of the extraordinary ordinary women I am encountering on this journey. I will start to form and paint the website with stories and photographs and ultimately create and publish a book that will inspire and celebrate the real lives of us women; who we are, where we have come from, where we are headed. A celebration of lives lived, experiences shared. Mutual empowerment….. I’m exciting myself here!
So, i’m reaching out, asking you to email me at; firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share. I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you if you do, and promise to get back to you. The idea is for you to answer a set list of 20 questions that will tell a short version of your life – life stories of you extraordinary ordinary women’s adventures to add to my own. Preferably I would like you to be post 50, but i’m open to hear you all!….
Why am I doing this?
I’m glad you asked…
Here’s the thing; At 50 I woke up as if from a dream state. For 10 years I had been what is now recognised as peri-menopausal. Functioning for periods of time in a foggy grey bubble of un-reality, which I found it imposssible to get the medical profession to properly diagnose. I believed I had become invisible – to myself and to the world. This was SO not like me. Every now and then I would have periods of relative “normality”, but always ended up back in the bubble. Waves of hormones and mood swings made me unpredictable company. I want to stress that this was NOT people making me feel this way, it was something organic dwelling within me. A hormonally driven craziness that made me feel as if I were not really here. Around my 50th birthday the greyness and fog lifted. It was like a re-birth of sorts. I dwelt comfortably once more in my old skin and partied for my 50th birthday like it was – erm – 2006…..Time to move on with life in real time, not dream time. I have been making up for that lost time for the past 10 years.
Self-image interests me, so I am drawn to delve into the credibility or otherwise of the ‘invisibility’ card. I recently read of a woman saying: “Age, I now realise doesn’t creep up, it fells you with changes you didn’t see coming. And it happens at 50. You vanish, replaced by an old and forgettable woman”. ????? Seriously????? I remind myself what is being put out there by re-visiting feminist writer Naomi Wolf in her book ‘The Beauty Myth”. Her reasoning is cultural, systemic and makes for depressing reading. Thankfully, most of us women are too busy getting on with our lives, to get bogged down in the detail in the book of the demands of the so called patriarchy. I do not want to give oxygen to this myth, and here’s why; It’s all in our individual heads….Put there by years of conditioning and experiences. We need to let it go. In order to be the person I am today, I have had to let go of a veritable Trump Tower full of accumulated baggage. The truth is that women in the western world are freer than ever to celebrate being the women we want to be in 2017 and we seem to be blind to it. The 1st rule should be that we give ourselves permission to really feel beautiful from deep within and foster a strong personal identity. We are being complicit in our own downfall by harsh self-judgment and criticism of ourselves and each other. The title of Norah Ephrons book: I feel Bad About My Neck, is an honest, funny account of ageing, but the title says much about our default tendency to see ourselves in a negative, concerning light. My accumulated 60 years experience of living, feels so unfettered now, compared to the winging it of my youth. The more natural, home spun self confidence age has brought me is no longer the unwieldy, unpredictable, misunderstood tool it once was. It sits comfortably with me as I feel the power age and wisdom has conferred. My post menopausal sexiness if you like, is now in the form of that confidence, not in obsessing about the need to seek plastic surgery for (among other things) – vaginal rejuvenation – who does that other than accident victims? I know I am 60. I own it. It walks with me on my cranky knees ffs!
Who, in the main are the advertising copy writers, the editors/writers of the fashion magazines???? – yes – WOMEN. Powerful women in charge of a multi-million pound business. Women who decide what to validate or knock down. What to give us overt permission through their tag lines to do/be/say. It is a form of bullying to my mind. Ladies we need to stop feeding this judging of one another. We all do it and it needs to stop. Period. Be who you want to be. Empower and allow others to do likewise…It’s not a competition- or shouldn’t be. There is no prize. However, there is a goal; – Self worth. Self-respect. Happiness. Positive connection with the human race, positive role-models for our daughters and younger women. We are the keepers of a hot, hot flame!
…..If perchance you do choose to buy into some of this ‘older women are invisible’ malarky, maybe shoplifting is a good choice of career for you….If salespersons do ignore you…well, those goodies could find their way into your bag and out the door unobserved……Maybe you could eat and drink in restaurants and leave without paying the bill…..Or book into expensive hotels and slope off in plain sight at the end of your stay unobserved…Just an idea….I’m not sure you’ll find you are as invisible as you may think you are……..